Rolex Explorer I 'Swiss Only'

Rolex Explorer I 'Swiss Only'

Why We Love It

When it comes to design language, the Reference 14270 may be the most important Rolex of the contemporary era.

Launched in 1990, the 14270 was the follow-up successor to the iconic 1016, and featured a truly avant-garde design language. Moving away from the matte dial 1016, the 14270 features a glossy dial with stylized applied Arabic quadrant indices and a sapphire crystal which gives the watch a thoroughly modern and luxurious visual appeal that was initially a very polarizing departure for the model. With the benefit of hindsight, we can know understand that the 14270 was essentially a test-run for a new design language that would many years later become standard for numerous timepieces across the collection.

But of course we wouldn't settle for just any 14270.

This particular example is considered a transitional model, and features the desirable 'Swiss Only' dial produced for under two years. Indicating a switch away from Tritium to Luminova luminous material, the 'Swiss Only' moniker has proven incredibly popular to a number of desirable sports Rolexes in the past few years, and has resulted in significant premiums.

The 14270, however, has only begun to stir in its pricing. Representing the first model to feature Rolexes "new" design language, its avant-garde dial design was polarizing at first, as 1016-obsessed purists poo-pooed their shiny dials and fancy markers.

But today, special 14270s, such as this Swiss Only example, are beginning to be snatched up by forward looking collectors who appreciate not only their size and story, but the chance to get in on the ground level for the next big thing.\

This particular example is in incredible condition throughout, showing no signs of polish or abuse, and even has its original factory case back sticker intact! Better yet, it comes with its inner and outer boxes and punched papers dated March 1998 from an authorized dealer in Chittagong, Bangladesh!

The Explorer I Story

Few watches have captured the imagination the way the Rolex Explorer has.

 At its core, the Explorer has always been an understated tool watch, it's spartan appearance belying its hearty robustness. It is perhaps this, more than any other feature, that urges ever onward the spirit of adventure and humankind's unwillingness to accept defeat. In this way, the Explorer - in all of its executions - has formed a kind of cult status among watch enthusiasts and collectors.

The Explorer traces its heritage back to the first successful summit of Everest in 1953. While we know now that the watch on Sir Edmund Hillary’s wrist was a Rolex Oyster Precision. The Oyster Precision was the precursor to the Explorer, and it was the Precision that introduced the 3-6-9 Arabic dial that we associate with the Explorer today. It was after the successful summit that Rolex rechristened the model as the Explorer in honor of Hillary and Norgay’s historic accomplishment.

Rolex went on to produce the Explorer continuously for nearly seven decades (and counting, since it’s still in production), and the triumph of the 1953 expedition and spirit of adventure and exploration carries on with each new model.

It is a memento of our ability to conquer the world through hard work, grit and determination - and of course our ability to do so with timeless style and panache.


SKU: AS03869

Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding the crown). Automatic movement by Rolex. Rolex Reference 14270. Circa 1998.

Overall Condition: Case is in excellent condition with no signs of polishing. Factory case back sticker remains intact. Luminous gloss black dial dial is in excellent, as-new condition with matching handset. Signed crown.

Includes solid link Oyster bracelet 78790/558B with signed clasp.

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